POLITICS: Campaigns

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz running for Congress

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz said Thursday he will run for U.S. Rep. Tom Latham's House seat in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District.

Schultz announced his campaign in Council Bluffs, where he used to serve on the City Council.

Schultz said Washington is broken and the Republican-controlled House is the only thing keeping the country moving in the right direction.

"I look at Washington D.C., and what's going on in Washington, and I'm really nervous for our country," Schultz said. "The House of Representatives is the only thing that's keeping the dam from breaking."

Schultz campaigned for secretary of state in 2010 on issues surrounding voter fraud and a call for voter identification and since being elected has kept his attention on those issues. He recently came under scrutiny over whether his use of federal money for voter-fraud investigations is proper.

Schultz is expected to be a formidable candidate for the 3rd district seat, which Latham unexpectedly decided to vacate at the end of his 10th term. The district includes Des Moines, Council Bluffs and largely rural areas of southern and western Iowa.

Many had expected Latham, a Republican, to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring five-term Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. But Latham declined to run for the Senate, and then he announced last month he would retire from the House.

The seat is viewed as competitive. In December, Republicans held a narrow registration edge in the district, which had about 164,000 Republicans, 157,000 Democrats and 160,000 independents. President Obama carried the district by 4 percentage points in winning the state last year.

Brent Siegrist, a former Republican lawmaker from Council Bluffs who served as state House speaker, said Schultz should have a good chance to win.

"I assume he would have some fundraising opportunities statewide. He's a tireless campaigner," Siegrist said. "It's a very winnable Republican seat, however it's not like [Republican U.S. Rep.] Steve King's district, which really leans right."

Last week, Republican David Young, a former aide to Republican Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, abandoned a Senate campaign to run for Latham's seat. Democratic former state Sen. Staci Appel, of Ackworth, announced her candidacy last year.

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